I am so behind!  I guess there are times when one lives life to the expense of writing about life.  However, even for a blogger, this is often a good thing, as I believe the writing will have more depth after fully immersing oneself in living.  This may be one of those times.  I have a total of 3 photo entries “backed up”, needing to be written, but time has gotten away from me.  So – let’s just start with my trip to Sea Pines…..

On Tuesday of this past week, I finally hooked up with the friend I met on Flickr, and we decided to go scout out photo ops.  Our destination:  Sea Pines, a gated community at the other end of Hilton Head from where I live.  It’s a more “public” gated community, in that it is not closed to only residents.  In other words, you get to pay $5.00 for the privilege of entering!  Yet – I don’t have to.  My community and Sea Pines have a reciprocal arrangement, so my car’s resident sticker allows me to slide on through the gate!

There’s lots to see inside — one of which is Harbourtown, where the lighthouse, shopping area, and the marina is located.  The 18th Green of the Harbourtown Golf Links is right there, too, where the Heritage Golf Tournament will be held the week after Easter.  My Flickr friend and I first went to Harbourtown to see the sights there – and catch a bite of lunch.  I didn’t take too many photos.  The brisk, unseasonably cool sea wind kind of put a damper on hanging out too long.  But, here are a few…

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1.  The lighthouse — taken from the pier
2.  Pelicans, etc. lined up – posing for me
3.  Sea gull in flight
4.  I’m not sure what kind of bird he is – but he’s cute 🙂

It was quite a windy day when we were out – – and I was surprised to see so many people kayaking on the bay

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1.  Mother / daughter (I’d guess?) kayakers
2.  Colorful kayaks lined up along the beach

From there we went to the “Baynard Ruins”, also in Sea Pines.  Baynard is an old Hilton Head name – I think a plantation owner.  His home was an old “tabby” house.  “Tabby” is a kind of building structure – made up of a mixture of oyster shells, sand and lime – which was common years ago in these coastal areas of the southeast.  The word tabby comes from the Spanish word “tapio” meaning “much wall”.  These particular Plantation houses, originally built between 1790 and 1810, burned down right after the Civil War.  When the area was purchased by Charles Fraser (who formed what we now know as “Sea Pines”) in 1956, they declared this area to be set aside as “open space”.  One can clearly see the tabby structure – even in the ruins of the old house….

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1.  tabby structure – or – what’s left of it
2.  ferns and other greenery have rooted themselves in the structure
3.  tiny little “peep hole” in the structure.  But — in this close up you can see what the mixture of “tabby” looks like.
4.  From the inside – looking out

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1.  find the little lizard 🙂
2.  just some of the landscape around the old structure.

From there we went to the Sea Pines Forest Preserve.  I’d never known this existed, but when we talked to a lady in one of the tourist booths at Harbourtown, she mentioned that would be a nice place to go.  Of course that meant — FINDING — the place.  I suck at directions – especially when I’m driving.  So — I handed the map – (at least we had one!) – to my “much better map reader”, flickr buddy — and she guided me there.  I would never have gotten there myself!

In a way — there isn’t too much to say for it.  There are many paths through the area – mixed with boardwalk structures that go over more swampy areas, so it’s mostly a very beautiful walk, and very worthy of our time.  I hope to go again soon.

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1.  Old tree — and palmettos
2.  …along the path…
3.  Interesting “stained glass” affect of palmettos
4.  a cropped picture of a red bellied (I think) woodpecker.  I didn’t have my zoom lens on my camera, so the original picture was very small, so I cropped it so you could see him.

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1. Green “algae” water — oddly – very pretty
2.  Love the weather vane!
3.  The old painted wooden arrow to point out the path

Then we came upon Lake Joe — which is within the preserve…..  And — along side of the bank – – was – – A HUGE ALLIGATOR!  There was this grouping of other people – all with cameras.   It still gives me the creeps – and is hard to admit – that I didn’t notice the alligator on shore.  I had to be TOLD by my flickr buddy that it was there — literally — RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME.  If truth be known, I wasn’t in any danger at the distance I was.  Yet — what scares me is that if she hadn’t told me, I might have walked into the danger area.  You see — I had my eyes on an alligator which was swimming in the water and was trying to position myself to photograph him….  Alligators lie so still – – so quietly.  You sort of “don’t see them” – or sense them – despite their size and unusual, almost prehistoric appearance.

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Small alligator in the water – the one I initially had my eye on…

With that, I realized that I wanted to change my lens to my zoom lens – and backed off to change that in a more safe location.  Then I came back to photograph the one on land….  Click on these photos to see them in Flickr, and them larger by clicking “all sizes”.  It’s worth it to see all the detail.  The affect is much better in a larger size!    :-0

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1.  Front end – big teeth and all
2.  Middle of gator
3.  He turned – thinking about heading back into the water – mouth open – showing more of his big teeth!
4.  The smaller gator – which I’d first seen – comes out of the water to sun

Once pictures were taken, we were off — and went on home.  I admit – I was a little relieved to get out of that area, even though I was glad to have had that opportunity to take pictures of a rather large gator…!  And – one final thought.  I guess Lake Joe is not a “swimming hole”.  ~

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